“I am Nigerian and have really dark skin. I have not really suffered any effect from the sun. Is Nigerian skin sun resistant?”
Someone asked this question about sun resistant skin, and since we like to talk a lot about how important it is to use lotion (or creams) with sun protection, we decided to answer it here.
One mistake a lot of dark-skinned people make is thinking that their skin is resistant to the sun. Just because you have a generous helping of melanin in your skin, that does not automatically protect you from the harmful UV Rays of the sun.
And you are right, but only to an extent.
The more melanin a skin has, the more protected it is from the harmful rays of the sun. This reduces your chances of getting skin cancer to some extent.
So what is melanin?
Simply put, it is the pigment produced by some cells in the body that gives human hair, skin and eyes their colour. The darker the skin, the more melanin it has.
The fact that you have a high amount of melanin in your skin does not mean that your skin is sun-resistant. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation website, “People of color can still get sunburned, and they can also develop skin cancer from UV damage.”
Is Nigerian skin sun resistant?
A Nigerian is a person of African descent (most times anyway) and so the assumption is that Nigerians are dark skinned. However, this is a false assumption. Darker skin has very little to do with race or country and there are Nigerians with very fair skin.
So if you have fair skin, then it is safe to assume that your skin is not sun-resistant. You need to use sun protection each time you go out in the sun.
If you have darker skin, you can be affected by the sun. It might not show immediately, but it could have serious health implications later in life.
No matter how dark or light your skin tone is, your skin is not completely sun resistant. Use sun screen.
Related: Skin care tips for Nigerian women
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